October Degustabox Review ’17

October Degustabox Review ’17

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Degustabox. All opinions are my own.

First off, Happy (belated) Halloween! I’ve made the decision to not dress up as anything—just drop by a department Halloween party, and then head home. I know, I am such a partier I have no control 😛

With November here, and Thanksgiving (and my first FALL marathon) coming up, it’s time again for another Degustabox review!

October Degustabox
October Degustabox

Unlike last month’s box, October’s offerings were much more appealing to me. It contained old favorites, and new brands I’ve been meaning to try!

I was ecstatic to see a bag of Hippeas chickpea puffs thrown in. I first spotted them at Starbucks, and then I happened to pass by their warehouse near downtown Santa Monica since it’s right along the Expo Line! I was beyond ecstatic to try the new and local vegan-friendly alternative to cheese puffs.

Hippeas -
Hippeas – Vegan White Cheddar

These were beyond crazy delicious. They had a firm texture, a nice crisp crunch, and each puff was coated with just the right amount of vegan cheese flavoring.

Since it was a box arriving in time for candy’s famous holiday, it made sense that a bag of Cow Tales made a comeback. It’s always been a childhood favorite of mine, but Degustabox has partnered with them before in the past. I also noticed the new colorful, cartoon-y packaging.

Cow Tales Minis
Cow Tales Minis

Then there were two cups of original SunButter…I was certainly awestruck. Fortunately, I can have peanuts and foods with peanut-based ingredients, but I think I still prefer sunflower butter over peanut butter. It has a much smoother consistency in my opinion, while still keeping peanut butter-like thickness.

I had one cup serve an unconventional purpose: as a dip for plain Boboli pizza crust, which was also a featured product in this month’s box. Honestly, it was a pretty good combo!

Sunflower butter and pizza crust
SunButter cup and Boboli Original Mini Pizza Crust

I had the other cup scooped into a cottage cheese chocolate proyo bowl, which is something along the lines of what I’m normally used to as an after-dinner snack.

Just like old times
Just like old times

The Bush’s White Chili Beans contained “chicken base” as one of their ingredients, so I had to pass on trying it. I don’t see why it did though…I’m sure the recipe would have been just as good—if not better—without the addition of a meat product.

Does it have to have chicken in it?
Does it have to have chicken in it?

I was however able to try the Bush’s Kidney Beans in a Mild Chili Sauce, after thorough examination of the ingredients for any meat source. I initially thought about adding it to one of my crockpot dinners, but then I thought why not try it on its own? I warmed it up for lunch in lab one day, and it was definitely nourishing through its well-mixed flavors of ripe tomatoes, chili peppers and cumin. It had enough fiber to keep me satiated as I worked the rest of the afternoon.

Suitable for a lunch break.
Suitable for a lunch break.

The Quadratini Raspberry-Yoghurt wafer cubes were an interesting snackable. I normally don’t prefer wafers over other types of cookies and biscuits, but these wafers were certainly an exception. Each cube has four layers of raspberry-yoghurt flavored cream, sandwiched between mini crunchy wafer squares.

Quadratini
Quadratini Raspberry-Yoghurt Wafer Cubes

They definitely had a yogurt-like aftertaste, but that did not detract from their delicious taste.

Unlike other wafers I've had!
Unlike other wafers I’ve had!

When I saw a small cup of overnight oats, I was reminded of my early blogging days when overnight oats and OIAJ (oats in a jar) were super trendy. Now that brand name companies got a hold of this one-time, food-bloggers-only secret, I wasn’t surprised to find this container from Dave’s Naturals in this month’s box.

Dave's Naturals Overnight Oats - Apple Nut
Dave’s Naturals Overnight Oats – Apple Nut

This flavor had dried apple cubes, chia seeds, and dried oats. All I added was enough almond milk to soak the oats in, and after letting it sit in the fridge overnight, I pulled it out and it made for THE best stuck-in-lab-analyzing-data-all-morning snack.

The Welch’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt snacks were light, poppable, and had a creamy yogurt coating that worked well with the chewy cherry flavor. These were able to keep a gummy-like texture due to pectin. No gelatin was seen in sight, which was a mark of approval in my book!

Welch's Fruit 'n Yogurt Snacks
Welch’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt Snacks

I didn’t get a chance to try the two Kernal Season’s Popcorn Seasoning bottles (White Cheddar and Kettle Corn), since I gifted them to my sister, who is a greater consumer of popcorn than I’ll ever be, haha!

Which of these October Degustabox products would you try?

Freekeh Foods Review

Freekeh Foods Review

Disclaimer: This post is a review about products received from Freekeh Foods and sponsored by FitApproach. All opinions are my own.

I learned about the existence of freekeh very recently…actually while perusing some food blogs a couple months ago. This supposedly trendy new grain has actually been around for centuries, and is a Middle Eastern cooking staple.

Freekeh is basically roasted young green wheat, and can be used as an ingredient in dishes ranging from savory to sweet, which I tried to do when I had the opportunity to try freekeh for myself!

I received two packages (one original and one tamari-flavored) to try out, and had a fun time experimenting with this interesting grain.

packets
Packages of freekeh to try!

When I opened the tamari packet, my nose was hit by the fresh scent of spices. Compared to the original, the appearance of the grain is the same, except the tamari has a light powder coating (which obviously makes sense…)

tamari
Hit by the aroma of tamari!

For the tamari packet, I immediately knew how I was going to use it—as an add-in to my usual crockpot dinners! One night, I had it mixed in with green cabbage and onion, and later in the week, I had the same combination but with the addition of beets. Adding this flavor of freekeh definitely added a POP to my otherwise humble dinners. When I had it in the crockpot bowl with beets, the freekeh tended to clump around the beet pieces for some reason, and it gave me the idea of potentially using it as a breading substitute if need be.

tamari_cp
Crockpot close-up
beets_tamari
In full view.

I also used it as an ingredient in an egg scramble. Mixed in with two eggs and garlic cheddar cheese, this tamari-flavored freekeh egg scramble gave me an extra energy boost to power me through an afternoon experiment in lab.

tamari_scramble (1)
Scramble wet ingredients

Freekeh Egg Scramble
Serves 1
A simple scramble with a dense body and nutritious flavor profile!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 eggs (or egg substitute)
  2. 1/2 cup of freekeh
  3. 28g serving of cheese
  4. non-stick spray
Instructions
  1. Mix the eggs (yolk+whites) with cheese (cut up or crumbles) in a separate bowl.
  2. Mix in freekeh, and mix well.
  3. Heat a pan on the stove, and spray with non-stick spray.
  4. Add wet mixture to pan and cook for ~2 minutes (time may vary based on stove settings, pan, etc.)
  5. Turn off stove, let scramble cool, and eat!
Will Study for Food http://www.willstudyforfood.com/
Seeing that the original flavor was all grain and had no added flavor, I knew that it could be a very versatile kitchen staple to have around. Because I had gone the savory route with my tamari freekeh packet, I decided to see how the original flavor would fare in a sweeter dish.

Lately I have been concluding my weeknight dinners with some sort of yogurt-based protein bowl (in other words, proyo bowls) that I often top with a nut butter I have on hand and possible other fun toppings as well. With the original freekeh packet I had, I cooked a serving (~1/4 cup dry) in the microwave with some water for about two minutes. It developed a fluffier texture, and from there, I added some yogurt I had already mixed with protein powder. It was like a ready-made bowl of overnight oats, and I even added a dollop of salted caramel peanut butter on top.

original_after (1)
Making things sweet.

Freekeh is quite versatile, and I see uses for it beyond my crockpot dinners and sweet grain bowls. Why not try winning a package to try for yourself*? ;))

*US Residents only please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Commercial Take on Overnight Oats

A Commercial Take on Overnight Oats

Disclaimer: I was NOT endorsed by Chobani for this review. This review is based on the products I bought on my own from a discount grocery store. 

I remember way back in 2011 when overnight oats was such a trendy thing in the foodie blogosphere. When I first began blogging publicly, I was intrigued by the concept of soaking oats overnight in milk or yogurt, and then adding things like dried fruit, nut butter, and chocolate chips to the mix the following morning.

It has taken three years for “the rest of the world” to catch up to what us food-obsessed bloggers kept secret for so long, and not surprisingly, it was Chobani that took the leap into commercializing the overnight oats concept, through their Chobani Oats line.

They have four flavors in the collection: Apple Cinnamon, Banana Maple, Blueberry, and Cranberry. I happened to stumble upon ¾ flavors at my local Grocery Outlet. Not only was I in pleasant shock after seeing that these even existed, but after noticing that they were only $0.59 a cup, you better believe I stocked up!!

I tried all three flavors that same day after a shift at work and dinner. Looking back, I noticed that I ended up eating them in alphabetical order. That was not done on purpose, at all 😉

All of the yogurts in this collection have a goopy texture from the steel-cut oats mixed in, but it seems to me that the thick consistency that makes greek yogurt what it is was downgraded by the presence of the oats. So all of the yogurts pretty much tasted like regular, more fluid yogurt mixed with oats. 

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All cups are 160 calories, have decent protein content, and ensure those who are foreign to overnight oats that it is, in fact, “ready to eat—serve chilled”.

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Apple Cinnamon was my least favorite I have to say. As much as I wanted to be a fan of all flavors, I wasn’t exactly raving about the mini apple chunks or off-cinnamon taste.

Apple Cinnamon

Banana Maple was alright. I didn’t taste the banana flavor that much though, really.

Banana Maple

I’m surprised Chobani doesn’t already have a cranberry-flavored greek yogurt, but as part of this collection, the cranberry yogurt+steel oats combo was a winner. Not only was the yogurt colored pink, but there were decent-sized chunks of cranberry thrown in too!

Cranberry

Unfortunately, blueberry was nowhere in sight when I made my grocery store visit. Perhaps it’s too popular to be overstock? In that case, I guess that means I really do need to try it 😉 !

Have you seen/tried the new Chobani Oats line?

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